Dear Vicki, My dog Bobby died a few months ago and I’m still struggling to cope with the loss. I still think about him and miss him a lot. Do you think getting a new pet would help me get over this? LOSING a much-loved pet is a difficult time. The grief process goes through several stages, often beginning with a sense of disbelief and shock. This may be followed by pain, anger and depression. It is often helpful to have support from friends and family so think about talking to them about your feelings. You can also think about using a counsellor or a local support organisation. When to get a new pet is a personal decision. If you feel that you are still thinking about Bobby a lot, it may be best to wait until you have entered the stage of acceptance. More information about pet bereavement can be found at www.pdsa.org. uk/bereavement. Dear Vicki, I have just got a puppy called Max and I’m trying to potty train him. What is the most successful method? THE best method is reward-based training, which means giving your puppy rewards like a game or a cuddle when he behaves correctly. To toilet train Max, keep taking him outside and give him lots of praise when he goes to the toilet in the right place. Repeat this, then start introducing a signal so he understands that you want him to go to the toilet. Always use the same words, like ‘go now’ and accompany that with a hand signal. He will soon start associating the signals with the praise, which will make him want to ‘go’. Eventually, you can just use the signal. Ignore any mistakes and don’t punish your puppy for them as this is unkind, causes anxiety and slows learning.